I remember how upset Alvi was every time we talked about this article. For him, the son of Pakistani immigrants, the situation seemed particularly deleterious. Smith, too, would have been furious. Even so, it would take his partners five more years to sever ties with McInnes, which is when things got really Shakespearean.
By meeting the three witches, Banquo wonders if he consumed a “crazy root / That makes reason prisoner”. McInnes has certainly taken a stupendous amount of drugs, especially cocaine, as he often brags about. Under his leadership, the magazine openly discussed ways to “maximize your coke”. But the intensification of his far-right views coincides with the moment he started taking another psychotropic drug: Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant that helps focus and is prescribed for ADHD. It can be taken for recreation or to increase productivity, but there are serious consequences if abused. (It should be noted that Donald Trump himself has resisted unproven claims of copious Adderall use.)
McInnes, who has spoken publicly about taking Adderall to help him write, dated his use of the drug to the early 2000s. “I didn’t take more or less than anyone else. “, he wrote in an e-mail,” and NO, it had no effect [sic] my writing. “But those around him have noticed.” Adderall is a very big part of the story, “a former colleague alleges.” He used Adderall a lot – a lot a lot … We know what the side effects are: this can lead to greatness, to feeling like you’re right and the world wrong. It can include elements of paranoia. And all of these psychological phenomena are enveloped in Gavin’s transformation. “
In an episode of his podcast, McInnes described buying Adderall from a Park Avenue doctor. He continued to take the drug after having children with his wife, Emily Jendrisak, whom he married in 2005. The way he describes his bachelor party, held in upstate New York , gives an idea of how his view of the world had apparently changed. As relayed in his autobiography, he got angry with his father “for not having taken cocaine with us”. Then, he claims, 10 of his friends disguised themselves as Klan men, “hoods and all,” as they burned a 15-foot wooden cross. (No one I spoke to would confirm if this actually happened; McInnes insists in the brief that its contents are true.) At this point, McInnes, still at Vice, also contributed to VDARE.com, a site that promoted the “work of white supremacists,” according to the SPLC.
Smith attended the wedding. “I remember him standing there pacing,” recalls Eric Digras. Smith, according to the former Vice employees, seemed to know that something, one way or another, had to change. “There was kind of a rivalry there that I think was mostly from Shane,” said Jesse Pearson, the editor at the time. “Then it became like a Shakespeare play: these two power-hungry lords fighting for the kingdom.” Another colleague from this period added: “The defining aspect of the relationship was their rivalry. They were two spandex trashy guys trying to outdo each other on guitar solo every night.
A turning point came five months after the wedding, when McInnes attended the American Renaissance Conference 2006, a “racially realistic” encounter that drew hundreds of white nationalists. According to an article in The Forward, published on the American Renaissance website, “the participants are united by a common belief in black intellectual inferiority, opposition to non-white immigration and a zeal for the maintenance of America’s white majority ”. There, McInnes noticed former KKK chief David Duke at the bar. “I texted my friends: I’m just hanging out with my old boyfriend David Duke,“, He explained in our interview. “It became like, I’m at a Klan rally…. I think some people used him as an excuse, ”which is a reason to tie McInnes to the KKK and, maybe, get rid of him.
Although he never wrote about the rally, he called it a reporting mission. “It was just me doing my job,” he said. Those around him weren’t so sure. It was, after all, the same McInnes who wrote in 2002 that a liberal spotted at a strip club would “deny this was happening or claim it was some kind of research project.” . Whichever way one chooses to interpret McInnes’ presence at the conference, it practically ended his relationship with Vice. “It has become the moment,” noted Pearson. “This thing of forcing out of the business.”
The split with McInnes took a long time, a period in which he and his wife had their first child. “One day,” McInnes recalls, “the company built a closed office for the senior officers and I wasn’t there. His office, instead, was in the pen, from which he worked – as well as remotely – until he and the company went their separate ways. Lesley Arfin, a magazine contributor at the time, who became a writer on Brooklyn nine-nine and Girls as well as co-creator of Love, believes McInnes, to this day, may be “stuck in trauma” over what happened. “I don’t think he ever recovered from this humiliation,” she insisted. “You lose your best friend and your job, it’s like your whole fucking personality – and you just had a baby, like boom! Three things that change your life at the same time [stretch of time]. (“I wasn’t fired,” McInnes said. “We broke up because I wanted to stay offensive and they wanted to get serious.”)
Following the departure of McInnes (the company concluded its separation agreement with him in 2008), Vice started to experience phenomenal growth. By then, the company had turned to online video, which would become one of the main sources of its success. Over time, Vice Media, led by Smith and serving a lucrative Millennial audience, would launch new digital video platforms and expand into film, music and news, partnering with partners such as MTV, HBO, Showtime. and Snap Inc, while attracting investors ranging from 21st Century Fox to Disney to George Soros. The office environment, however, was marred by allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying behavior as well as outright sexism. (Two years ago, the company agreed to pay $ 1.87 million to female employees who had been paid less than their male counterparts. A heavily female management team is now in the driver’s seat, with women currently making up more of the workforce. half of Vice Media’s global workforce.)
McInnes Deepening Radicalism can be followed online in a weekly column he wrote from 2008 to 2017 in Taki’s Magazine, the sometimes far-right webzine published by Greek journalist and socialite Taki Theodoracopulos, co-founder of The American conservative. Sample headlines: “The Myth of White Terrorism”, “Riots: The Unbeatable Effect” and “What’s Wrong With Blackface?” McInnes was recruited to write there by Richard Spencer, who has since become one of the country’s most vilified anti-Semites. “People change and movements change,” McInnes told me in an email. Richard Spencer said ‘Hi Trump’ at that conference and it all went off a Nazi cliff…. Spencer was a cool guy. He got me my job at Takimag in 2008 after I left Vice. At the time, he was just a paleoconservative obsessed with the Founding Fathers. Today’s Spencer has nothing to do with the guy I knew 10 years ago.
For his part, today’s McInnes refer to his position as “basic fathers politics.” He sent me a list outlining his opinions, saying, “These are the same opinions as any rational person.” He understood his thoughts on topics such as “Racism is not a thing”, “America was not built on slavery” and “Gay marriage is a scam”. Her views were blatantly Islamophobic, transphobic, anti-feminist, and discriminatory against various groups. Single line: its underlying concern for the body, identity and reality of other people or their personal decisions. When I asked him why he was dwelling on this theme, he deviated, as usual: “The Proud Boys are unique Americans in the sense that they avoid identity politics. But as the SPLC describes it, “McInnes is playing a deceptive rhetorical game: claiming to reject white nationalism while espousing a whitewashed version of popular white nationalist tropes.”
McInnes is someone who apparently concluded long ago that white men’s privilege was in jeopardy. On September 11, believing his reality was literally under attack, he had embraced the idea that conservatism was essentially about maintaining the status quo for those in power, that is, white men like him. In 2016, by founding the Proud Boys, he attempted to transform his ideologies into political action. Beyond that, McInnes’ overall philosophy seemed to be that free speech included hate speech. “When you hate someone,” as he once said, “it’s because you recognize something about yourself that you hate.”